Monday, November 30, 2015

Yuma for Glasses, Sneeze Passes

yuma cactus
Yesterday we arrived in Yuma.  Marcia took a number of photos along the way here, but I doubt any of them will see the light of day because I just don’t feel up to going through them right now.  We did drive through Joshua Tree National Park, that part of the park that connects Twentynine Palms with I-10.  All I have to say about the 60+ miles of I-10 that we drove is this:  “Arizona Drivers coming back from Thanksgiving are TERRIBLE drivers!”
mexico for glasses
The sole purpose of coming to Yuma was for me to get glasses in Mexico.  Los Algodones is right up against Yuma, and is a very popular spot for RVers and Snowbirds in general to get Dental work, get Glasses, get Pharmaceuticals, and booze. I was there for new glasses.
Algodones Optical
I decided to go to Algodones Optical, which is directly across the street from the sidewalk leading back into the states.  They have a few locations, and this location is where they make the glasses.  Previously in Arkansas I would go to Lens Crafters up in Little Rock. I liked the idea that you see the eye doctor, pick out your glasses, and within two hours they have them ready for you.  Pretty much this is what happened today…but these only cost $300 while the last ones I got in Little Rock were $550.  Like anywhere, one could get less expensive glasses…some people were paying under $300 and walking out with two sets of glasses.  My problem is that I am picky with the frames…my skin is very allergic to certain metals, including gold and silver.  I am very hard on glasses, and so my decision was between titanium or flexon…I picked flexon this time…also known as “memory metal”.  Also, I decided on the Enhanced View progressive lenses, replacing my older progressive lenses.  I absolutely LOVE the view out of these glasses.  My older ones required me to turn my head with my eyes to keep in the “sweet zone”…but now the sweet zone is much larger, and the view is so much better.  Knowing me, I will still take them off when reading for prolong periods, or when I do some of my editing of pictures. 

Arizona Sands RV Park

There are many places to stay in Yuma this time of the year…a month from now and these places will be nearly filled up for the next three months.  We decided to stay at the Arizona Sands RV Park due to price (Passport America park), location (right off the freeway, but not near the freeway), and because it is seven miles from the California boarder on what I would call the outskirts of Yuma. 
yuma cactus
We have to say goodbye to Yuma, and we really need to come and spend more time here and get to know the town…driving along I-8 through Yuma, and a stop at Cracker Barrel yesterday for dinner (we had not been to a Cracker Barrel since April!) does no justice to the history and community of Yuma.  Felt the same as we passed through Dodge last year, and one of these years we will just have to have us a “Wild West Tour” of these old, famous western frontier towns.
Well, Sneezy has passed on…it has been 24+ hours since my last sneezing fit…or even just one sneeze.  HOWEVER, when I say that Sneezy has passed on, what I really mean is that Sneezy has passed from me to Marcia.  While I was spending around five hours away getting glasses, Marcia was in the motorhome sneezing away herself.  She went to bed shortly after I got home.  So we have called off our visit to Phoenix, no need to get others sick, and we will take it slow and easy to Fort Smith where we hope to have this cold behind both of us.  And we will hug the lower part of the nation (I-8 and I-10) where it is warmer before we head up to Sweetwater along I-20 before we catch US 277 to Wichita Falls, I-44 to Oklahoma City, and then I-40 to Fort Smith.  This will help us miss the projected single digit night-time temps along parts of I-40.  Unfortunately it also means we will miss some friends in the Phoenix area, for this, we are sorry…but you don’t want to catch what we have.  And with Marcia getting sick, prayers are definitely needed…pray for me that she doesn’t kill me for passing it on to her.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sneezing Along…


One thing about leaving family after Thanksgiving is that you risk catching that winter cold from being around so many others who are around others of which someone catches something and soon it is spread all through most of the group.
Shortly before we left I knew I was getting it.  However, I used my remedy of rinsing and gargling with the Original Listerine Mouthwash (it will kill any and all germs), and Marcia loads me up on Vitamin C.  So I am down to the worse part of the cold, bypassing most of the sore throat type of stuff, and that is a basic head cold, which for me means, I can sneeze anytime.  Now my sneezing is not like this little guy above…and when one is coming on, not much can be done about it like Sneezy’s friends do for him.  No, my sneezing is more like….
….this guy here.  And can you imagine having three, four, five of these back to back?  Well, yesterday while driving I feel one coming on, and very quickly, I do six of them non-stop.  I think six while driving is a record…but after we got settled in at the TwentyNine Palms RV Resort in Twentynine Palms, Ca, and after Marcia had settled down for an early nights sleep as she tries to keep this cold away from her, I have eight of them…waking her and every creature within our confines (and perhaps outside too).  Bubba jumps down from his roost in the driver’s seat…Skruffy, who is watching over dad in Marcia’s chair, puts both feet up on my arm and looks at me like, “What the heck was that!”, and Marcia awakens from her early sleep wondering if we had just had an earthquake or something.

Two hundred more miles to Yuma….

Friday, November 27, 2015

Bakersfield by Nightfall

I-5 south of Los Banos

We were on the road by 8:45…shooting for 9 am, so I felt good about that.  Traffic, at first, was not bad at all.  We decided to go I-5 instead of US-99 not only because of construction along 99, but mainly because of the Flying-J (gas and propane) and the Blue Beacon Truck Wash next door (to get the squirrel droppings off the RV – only downfall to staying in the backyard).   I also wanted to top off the tires which needed their winter adjustment…but I had to go over to Love’s across the street from Flying J because for some reason, Flying J had mostly broken hoses, and low pressure in the air department.  At Blue Beacon we had nearly an hour wait, which meant getting to Bakersfield by nightfall was going to be rough.

Who knows what, I-5 south of Los Banos

One thing about California is you never know what type of vehicle you will see out on the streets.   I have no idea what this is…a mixture of this and that from what I could see….

Bubba giving me that look

…Bubba, who uncharacteristically was sitting up on Marcia’s lap, gave me a look like, “I don’t think Arny would ever put a car out on the street looking like that piece of Sh….”   BUBBA, WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!!!

Bubba on Marcia's lap for a good half hour

Bubba stayed up on Marcia’s lap for a good 30 minutes…wow, that’s a record for sure!!!!   Skruffy had been on her lap for a good hour or more, so Marcia had a good doggie day. 

Yes, we did make it to the Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield, but it was dusk, and I needed a flashlight to get everything hooked up.  Can’t wait until morning because there are MANY oranges on the orange trees, and they don’t mind (even encourage) you having a few to eat on the premises.  I will try and get my camera out, because all of today’s pictures were with my cell phone.  Not sure how far we will get tomorrow…guess you will have to check back and see.  Winking smile

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Time and Turned 60

Turning 60

Ok, so it was I who turned the big 60.   Marcia and I went out to dinner at Claim Jumpers a few days before my birthday, mom and dad had everyone over for a birthday celebration the day before my birthday, and on my birthday I heard from all three of my kids, and pretty much just kicked back and enjoy my day.

As for thanksgiving, I am going to share my posting below from a few years ago….I hope you enjoy, and I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving. We leave Friday morning, and will be back to posting nearly daily while we take 17 days to get back to our home in Florida.
Thanksgiving has always held a special place in my heart.  The reasons vary.  Football Games, I love turkey, family get-togethers, I really do love turkey, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving every now and then, and because in the late 1980’s, I found out something very special….
Pilgrms on Mayflower

Although college games are on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, the NFL has had Thanksgiving games since the 1920’s.  In “modern” times of the NFL, Dallas, Detroit and then random teams each host a game on Thanksgiving, but back in the ‘20’s teams regularly played on Thanksgiving.  Most the of time that I lived in Arkansas the big game was always LSU -vs- Arkansas with every-other year being played in Little Rock.  Although I never attended one of these games, my kids each have, and they loved it.
Family at Thanksgiving Table
And although I love turkey, having lots of family together, which happened many times when I was young through even this week, is always great.  And just how much do I like turkey?  When I was young, if we went out to a restaurant, if turkey was on the menu, it was a safe bet that is what I would order.  Go to a Chinese restaurant, and yes, if there was turkey, I would order it.  If we went to Sam’s Hof Brau, which for a time was a landmark in downtown Sacramento since it opened in 1959 and expanded from there, then contracted to just one restaurant left, other family members would have a large slice of their roast beef, while I would have turkey.  Before I turned 20, I cooked my first turkey dinner.  When my kids were young, I had a major part of cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  That’s how much I love turkey, although I rarely will order it in a restaurant because I know too much now about the dangers of turkey and lake of standards in some restaurants.  But that is all another story…

Since Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of each November, from time to time it lands on the 23rd.  When this happened when I was young this meant that many people would attend my Birthday dinner.  That was cool.  The last time my birthday was on Thanksgiving was 2006, the next will be in 2017.

In the late ‘80’s while taking a Christmas break from college we traveled from Utah to Sacramento to be with family.  I was a student worker in the Library at the time, in the genealogy area of the Library.  Working there led me to my career in the Public Library world.  Anyway,  I had made much progress on dad’s linage by this time.  I knew that my paternal great grandfather was born in Alameda County, California, and that his mother and father (2nd Great Grandparents), both were early settlers of California.  I knew they were buried in Irvington, Alameda County, California, now Freemont.  So one day during this Christmas break, I drove the 120 miles to the cemetery were they are buried at.  Though I knew his parentage, I knew nothing about hers.  Got to the cemetery and asked where they were buried.  Person looked it up, said there were no headstones, but showed me where they were.  I did know that her maiden name was Healey, spelled various ways, so I asked if there were any Healey’s.  “Oh yes,” they said, “a few large monument type headstones in this section and that section nearby where you will be.

I find my 2nd great-grandparents, and three large Healey headstones for which I wrote down the information I found.  What now?  Well to a local library, of course.  When I find the local branch library, I at first feel letdown….it is in a temporary building, like a large double-wide mobile home.  I decide to go in and look at their computer card catalog.  While I do, the Reference Librarian asks what I am looking for.  I respond with, “I doubt you have anything here due to your size, but ….”, and I tell her of my find.  She reaches back to a small bookcase at her desk and pulls out a couple of books.  “Why don’t you look at these?”  And in one of the books it confirmed that I had just seen the headstone of my 3rd great-grandparents, Ebenezer Haley and his wife Mary (Lee Scott). and two of their sons and their wives.  WOW!
Driving along the road

So on my drive back to Sacramento I wonder what the likelihood is of getting one more genealogy day while visiting family….I really wanted to go to the California State Library where I could look up some obituaries for these newly found names, and see what else they have.  A day or two later I do this, find many more obituaries including my 3rd great grandfather who had a major 1/4 page write up in the Oakland Tribune.  And in looking up books about him, I find the big prize….it is a book titled, “The Haley and Healy family ancestry of Ebenezer Haley, California pioneer of 1850,: With an account of his descendants to the present day”  Amazingly, the State Library had this book, but it couldn’t be checked out, but I was able to look at it….and in it I see that the Haley line descends from the Mayflower, and it’s verified by the Mayflower Society.  And since I work in a library, I KNEW that I would be able to get a copy through Interlibrary Loan from which I could make a copy before it needs to be sent back.  WOW, all of my Thanksgivings from this point on would be filled with much more meaning.
Pilgrims give Thanks
I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. May God bless you all, wherever you are, and may your travels be safe.
Note:  Confirmed Mayflower ancestors are William Brewster and his wife Mary, Stephen Hopkins and his wife Elizabeth,  John Howland. Edward Tilley and his wife Ann.  Many of the other passengers are distance relatives in that descendants married brothers/sisters of my ancestors.  When it comes down to it…we are all related one way or another.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Day Trip to Truckee – Electrical Cord Burnt

Donner Lake

On Thursday mom, dad, Marcia and I took the 90 mile trip up to Truckee to enjoy the wonderful blue sky, 50 degree weather, snow on the ground from last weekend’s snow storm, and relatively light traffic.  At the summit we turned onto old highway 40, and got this view of Donner Lake, similar to the one that Marcia and I got during the summer.  Only bad thing…left my camera at home.  Sad smile  

Turkeys on the loose

On our way out of town we stopped by the blood factory so that dad could get his pro time test that he gets every few weeks.  There were six large turkeys in the parking lot…wonder how long that will last with Thanksgiving right around the corner.

Snow near Donner Summit

It is hard to imagine that 169 years ago the snow was 5 to 10 feet up in this area while the Donner party was stuck down by the lake below.  Oh, how Northern California could use that snow this year!

Smokey's Kitchen

We ate lunch at Smokey's Kitchen, a place that Marcia and I ate at over the summer.  Back then the place was packed, it took nearly an hour to get our food, but it was very tasty then.  Yesterday, we were the only ones there when we arrived, it took us longer to decide what to have then it took for them to cook it, and by the time we left there were 20 or so people in there. Dad and I had burgers, Marcia had a Veggie Omelet, and mom had a Spinach Salad.  Marcia and I splurged and got a rack of beef ribs to go, and had them for dinner. 

After lunch we took a little drive around town, went by our favorite Truckee campground and hit the road.  At our campground, by-the-way, they had closed off all by a handful of camping spots…the only one being used was by a person in a car eating their lunch.  With temps in the teens at night, one could understand why no one is camping…and everything looked to be free.   By 2 pm we were back home in time for dad to catch another episode of the “The Five”.

30 Amp Plug burnout

Today we had a small electrical issue.  Our 30 amp plug had burnt out.  Had an extra, better plug in the storage bin, and Arny, who is an expert at this stuff, attached the wires for me.  I had attached these set back in the fall of last year, and the black wire (left side) was not tight enough, allow for an arch which causes heat which causes breakdown.  The wires and cord are still in good shape, and the newer plug has more secure attachments, so I think we are good to go again.

60th Birthday

Speaking of “GO”, we leave next Friday….but first, someone turns the big “60” and a few days later we celebrate our Ancestors fall celebration. 


Friday, November 13, 2015

Windows 10 -- Ready or Not???

Windows 10 logo

For many years I was known as the person who knew most about computers within a work organization, and hence many felt I was a computer expert.  While working in the restaurant, this was not the case.  But when I went back to college in 1986, I started to learn more and more about computers, and by 1991 when I started my career in the Public Library world, I quickly was taking on that role.  As a Library Director from 1993 through 2012, I rarely had a computer tech person on staff.  I fixed computers, set up networks, ventured deep in the world of Windows NT on the believe that Microsoft really did have the edge on “New Technology”, setting up five locations on separate NT networks with NT servers, NT workstations and card catalog computers running Windows 98, and a sixth network for staff.  Over 100 computers in all, and as the Library Director responsible for EVERYTHING, I was also the computer expert.  So when I set them up, I made sure that they would run correctly.  Also did the Library’s website, Rotary Club website, and knew a lot about the card catalog server too.  I was appointed by two separate governors, one Republican (Huckabee) and one Democrat (Bebee) to serve on two commission dealing with computers, internet, etc. (best word to describe it) and even testified before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and. Transportation (U.S. Senate. Link is to my testimony.)

Computer Wizard

Around 2008 I moved all the staff and patrons over to Windows Vista, card catalogs were moved to Windows XP earlier, and moved the website over to Windows Server 2003 around 2005.  Each computer that a patron touched, and most staff computers too, were set up so that any changes made would magically go away by simply logging off, and re-logging on the computer.  Again, for me to oversee these things with all my other duties, I needed them to be solid.

Computer Santa

Sometimes I felt like this guy above on December 26th….how the heck did I do all that???   By the time I retired I did have a tech person on staff knowing that the new director “had” to have computer support.  Worked with the guy for a year before I retired, and he is still there handling the computers.  When Windows 10 was announced I had both excitement and anguish…Is this going to work because Windows 8 didn’t work well.  After diving into Windows NT very early on, I quickly learned that it is best for others to be the guinea pigs.  Was going to wait for another few months before going into Windows 10, but mom and dad wanted their computers changed over to Windows 10 before we left, so….

 ASUS X551MA 15.6 Inch Laptop

…a few weeks ago I ordered this ASUS X551MA 15.6 Inch Laptop for $263.  It came with Widows 8, but I quickly loaded Windows 10 and was very impressed with how fast it is.  So on Monday I started on mom’s computer, moving it from Windows 7 to Windows 10.  Monday I had it download, so that on Tuesday I could just do the install.  However….

Black and Blue Screen of Death

....after it loaded the first phase and did its first restart, I get this screen…and it is frozen.  No keyboard action, no mouse…just this screen above. 

Blue Screen of Death

We use to call this (above) the “Blue Screen of Death” when dealing with Windows NT.  I guess Microsoft wanted to stay away from that, so they came up with the “Black and Blue Screen of Death” instead.
Computer Anguish

Well, the “Wizard of Computers”, the “Santa of the keyboard”, quickly turned into the “mad guy at mom’s house who had to bite his tongue when in reality he wanted to yell, scream, and toss the computer away!”


Now would be a good time to divert for a minute.  Since before I retired I have been wearing my beard fairly full, and I do have long hair pulled back in a ponytail.  Usually around October I start getting looks from kids. One of “those looks” happened last year when Marcia and I were eating in a restaurant, and Marcia noticed that this young child, about 4 years old, kept looking over at me.  Eventually he tugged on his mom’s arm and whispered and pointed.  She told me and I turned and gave him a little wave, which brought on a big smile, a red face, and quick turn of his head…but he couldn’t help to keep peeking back at me.  Today in the local supermarket, I turn the corner and there is this young child, about 3 feet away from the back of mom’s shopping cart, who looks up at me and “get’s that look”.  I just smile and say “hello there” as I walk by. 

More Computer Anguish 

Back to the computer saga….  After a few tries, and with no luck, I call Tuesday a day and go back to the motorhome next door.  After some research, and after saving Wednesday for the laundry mat, I go back on Thursday with a plan which includes getting a full backup of bookmarks and emails just in case my new plan kills Windows 7.  As I do the backup of her Windows Live Mail emails something nudges my brain cells and I do a little search.  “Can you run Windows Live Mail in Windows 10?”   Short answer is, not really.  Windows 10 wants you to use the Windows 10 email app, which stores everything in the cloud.

Even more Computer Anguish

Now I am wonder who is control here, me or Windows 10????   I figure out that mom and dad, because they are both on Live Mail, can move important emails over to the “inbox” area in folders, which will put them out into the cloud, but they first need to decide which emails to keep…and I want to wait a few more months to see if Windows 10 will notice and fix the problem that I am having with mom’s computer.  The problem I am getting is a “error during boot” with a bunch of numbers and letters which end in 0X20017.  The log says, “Error  MOUPG   CDlpManager::AsyncSerializeDisable(471):  Result = 0x80070216”  Research shows that this is a known issue, but there are a number of things which may cause this.  I think it is because her system files are in a different partition from the rest of Windows which is in the C: partition.  And today I just learned the most recent update of Windows 10 will allow you to do a clean install and use the Windows 7 product code numbers…so I think waiting for a few more months is wise  But we only have until late July 2016…if, that is, Microsoft does not extend the free upgrade time period.  We are planning on returning for the month of April before we go off to the wild blue yonder, I mean, head north.  And as for our other two laptops, they will wait until January or February…and now we get to travel with a spare, which will be nice having a backup computer along with us.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rain Rain don’t go away

Disclaimer:  I did not take any of these pictures, credit can be found by putting mouse over each picture/image.

KXTV Picture of Mammoth

Two snows and rains within eight days of each other offers hope to Northern Californians who have been suffering through a number of years of drought.

Boreal Mountain, Ca. November 2, 2015,     Near Donner Summit,

Of course, to make a real impact on the drought, they will need somewhere around 30 feet of snow up in the Sierras.  Here are some of the historic figures for the Sierras along highway 50 and I-80:
  • 1 day snowfall: 67 inches (5.6 ft.) at Echo Summit, Jan 4, 1982 (2nd in US)
  • Single storm snowfall: 186.6 inches (15.6 ft.) at Donner Summit, 1982 (2nd in US)
  • 1 month snowfall: 390 inches (32.5 ft.) at Tamarack, Jan. 1991 (US record)
  • Total winter snowfall: 884 inches (73.7 ft.) Tamarack, 1906-07
  • Greatest snow depth: 451 inches (37.6 ft.) at Tamarack, Mar. 11, 1911 (US record)
  • Highest average March snow depth: 108 inches (9 ft.) at Echo Summit
So “historic” snowfall would do much to relieve the drought…but what is really needed is a few years of near historic, along with finishing the maintenance work on Folsom Dam which is preventing it from being filled to capacity “if” there was enough rain to do so.

Tornado Warning, KCRA

Not only did we have rain and wind today down in the valley, but south of Sacramento there was even a Tornado Warning, although no report of a tornado hitting the ground or any damage.

Storm - KCRA

Seeing pictures like the one above reminds me of the many years spent in Arkansas!

Folsom Lake, KCRA     Lake Oroville, KCRA

Above are recent pictures of Folsom Lake (left) and Lake Oroville (right), both at or near record lows.  Water should be covering most of the dirt areas behind the dam on the left, and in the entire picture on the right. Oroville feeds the Sacramento River (as does Shasta Lake much further north), and Folsom feeds the American River which merges with the Sacramento River in Sacramento.  River levels are not as low because they need to be at levels compatible for the Salmon, Shad, Striper and Sturgeon runs (although technically I don’t think the Sturgeon don’t have runs).

Folsom Lake Flood Stage --

Above is a picture of Folsom Dam with all gates open, and the lake at flood stage. 

Tower Bridge a flood stage, Sacarmento --

Above is a picture of the Tower Bridge, which spans the Sacramento River between Sacramento and West Sacramento…you can see it in the the TV show “The Mentalist” in many episodes.

Most of Sacramento is in a flood zone…much like New Orleans. The American and Sacramento rivers meet in Sacramento near downtown. Earthen Levees surround the city along these rivers.  Sacramento has the second-highest flood risk of any major U.S. urban area. If a levee breaks, some residents could have as little as 20 minutes to flee.  During times of drought, and frankly during most years, this is not a thought to most of the people who live here…until there “one of those winters”…a winter in which the dams are near capacity or are being kept low to handle the high snow pack in the mountains. 

Yolo Bypass --

When I lived in Sacramento for 31 years, I saw the river levees just feet from overflowing.  Two of these times I lived just a city block or two away from the levee.  At times like that, you also worry about levee breaks, something that has not happened in Sacramento for many many years now…but it has happened further up north in places like Yuba City, or further down the river in the Delta. So far Sacramento has been saved due in part to the Yolo Bypass (above) which floods the west side of the river as the river reaches certain heights.

So we know that the lakes will once again fill, the rivers will continue to flow, and one of these days they will be talking about flooding again.  That is the way of life in Sacramento. Thank goodness that while Sacramento is at a mere 13 feet in elevation, Citrus Heights is at 167 feet…so mom and dad and sisters are all safe…but other family live in the lower ground, so we always worry when the water starts reaching the top of the levees.  But for now…”rain rain don’t go away, we need the water for future days.”